Other a denial of concussions and celebrated shameless corporate whoring, one of the main criticisms we have of the National Football League is a decided lack of discussion of British and Euro politics.
Jack Crawford, who was born in London and moved to the U.S. when he was in high school, was expected to make the team from Day 1. He has had a strong preseason and could be one of his team’s better front seven players ... whatever that means.
The surprise has been Lawrence Okoye. The native of Croydon, England he was once one of the best shot putters in the world and finished 12th for England in the 2012 Olympics. He was accepted at Oxford (just like me) to study law.
Never miss a local story.
These are both bright men who are blessed to have that cool James Bond British accent. Any idea that all football players are dumb jocks who are unaware of the political climate is erased when talking to men like Crawford and Okoye.
Because I’m a pretentious, pseudo intellectual snob who thinks he is much smarter than I is, at, rather than ask them about football I wanted to know what these two Brits thought of their nation’s vote to pass the “Brexit.”
In June, England voted by a measure of 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union. The surprising vote sent the British economy into a financial Porta Potty, and has many Euros concerned about how the details will eventually play out and affect their daily lives.
Okoye and Crawford are Brits and they are on the same team, but they are not on the same page about Brexiting.
“Me, personally, I was very disappointed,” Crawford told me. “Because I didn’t think it was the best decision for our country economically. And I think now that we have gone through with it, it’s clear that it left a lot of complications for our country in terms of growth and the wealth that was going into the country and how well it was doing economically. Now it looks like a risky country to invest in. But at the same time, I have not been living there for the past 11 years so I was not a part of the immigration and stuff.”
Crawford said everyone in his family voted to remain in the EU.
“I hope (they reverse it),” he said. “Me, I wasn’t too happy about it.”
Much like the U.S., there exists a difference of opinion of retaining your identity as a Brit’ while maintaining a friendly border to the rest of the world.
“I think it seems to be a polarizing issue for some people between left and right, sovereignty or unity with Europe,” Okoye said. “I am happy to be a British man and whatever the outcome I am sure we will do fine. I am not worried. We have proven our resiliency throughout our history. I don’t think there is any reason to believe we can’t do just as well not being in the EU. Obviously, in the short term there has been some economic difficulties. Socially, it has been a huge change in the country. Politically, it’s a big change but I think we will bounce back.”
He has not been back to England since the vote, but his family still resides there.
“Unless you own stocks, I don’t think you really see (a change). We are still in the EU for another two years so we’ll be fine,” he said.
As it compares to the United States and the varying attitudes towards immigration, Okoye sees no analogies between Great Britain and GOP Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who is using this issue as a major selling point to gain the White House.
“I think Trump is just trying to use it on anti-immigration and anti-community, etc., isolationists. That’s not the issue back home.” Okoye said. “For some it is, but for most it’s a question of autonomy back home. A lot of people just wanted to have their sovereignty back and to be able to dictate their own laws and not beholden to some bureaucracy in Belgium; that’s how some people felt.”